Caution on fuel reduction proposal

TASMANIA'S fire chief is not giving total support to the Liberal fire reduction plan, saying more work is needed.

But chief fire officer Mike Brown said yesterday that more spending on fuel reduction was welcome.

Opposition Leader Bryan Green used right to information documents to say the Liberal fuel reduction policy would deliver no net benefit to the state.

He said the Tasmania Fire Service briefing note stated that burning public land would not protect Tasmanian communities, as only 20 per cent of the urban interface was with public land. The rest is private land.

The Liberals went to the March state election promising a major fuel reduction effort.

Mr Brown said the briefing note had been taken out of context in media reports.

But he did not give a direct answer when asked if the Liberal plan was the best way to spend the money, instead saying ``we need to work through'' it to get the best benefit.

He said  reducing  fire risk on the urban-bush fringe was more difficult than in remote areas because of multiple land tenure.

Mr Brown said in a later statement that fuel reduction burns had to be considered around fire-prone towns and suburbs, with more planning, preparation and education needed.

A government spokesperson said the Liberals took a clear fuel reduction plan to the election.

``We will invest $28.5 million over four years to ensure that a comprehensive and strategic statewide fuel reduction program is carried out, which is critical to protecting the community,'' the spokesperson said.

``Labor failed to act on this important issue. 

``Bryan Green needs to recognise Labor lost at the March state election and get out of our way to implement the changes Tasmanians voted for.''

The spokesperson said that the onus of proof for landowners would be reversed when it came to environmental impacts.

It would have to be proven that a fuel reduction burn would have an adverse environmental affect for a permit to be denied.

Chief fire officer Mike Brown

Chief fire officer Mike Brown


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